Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review: Wild

Powell's Books · Barnes & Noble
Cheryl Strayed © 2013

I read this book in three nights. My eyes burned, I knew I was going to be tired the next day, but still I was compelled by Cheryl’s story to keep reading.

This autobiographical story follows Cheryl as a young woman who loses herself after her mother's untimely death from cancer. After spending over a month watching her mother, who was her lighthouse, waste away, she leaves her side to bring her brother to see her one last time and her mother dies in her absence. Cheryl is unmoored in a sea of self-destruction.

She tries to drown herself in illicit affairs, and even heroin. After her divorce, the idea of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail starts to gnaw at her.

Her time on the trail alternates between giving her a break from her mental anguish and forcing her to confront the tribulations of her life. The rigors of the trail causes her outward suffering just as she had suffered inwardly for years. It becomes a pilgrimage. And although she ends up basically destitute, homeless and alone—you see her not as poor, but as unburdened.

I do not like much of what Cheryl does during this story, but I admire who she becomes, and the unflinching way in which she tells her story.


  1. Do you recommend it?
    I didn't like Eat Pray Love at all. I tend to dislike whiny women books and that she was so unprepared for the trail but she gets applauded for it makes me feel nuts before I even started.

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    2. I do recommend it. I too am not for whiny women books (love that BTW). I see this as more of a lancing of an abscess on her soul. It's not pretty, and she is the root of all her problems--and I admire that she owns up to that. As for her time on the trail, she was inexperienced for the trek but not uneducated. She spent a year or more researching, planning, shopping for the right gear, etc. Her big mistake was making this her first backpacking experience. It did bother me about how much help she got along the way simply because she was alone and attractive. I wanted to shake her and yell at her a couple times in the book, but I think that's a sign I was involved enough in the story. I closed it feeling hopeful and happy for her. I also kinda wanted to hike the PCT. Read it, I'd love to know what you think. :)